EPA Close To Publicizing 2017 And 2018 Renewable Fuel Standard Volumes
On April 15, 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sent its newly proposed Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) volumes for 2017 and 2018 to the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review. Under the Clean Air Act (CAA), EPA must set standards for cellulosic biofuel, biomass-based diesel, advanced biofuel, and total renewable fuel by November 30 of the year before the standard is set for, and 14 months before the year that the biodiesel standard is set for. EPA's issuance of the RFS volumes to OMB is typically the final step before the rule is publicized. OMB's review is limited to 90 days, but typically takes 30 days.
EPA has previously fallen behind schedule in issuing RFS volumes, but was able to get back on track after releasing three years worth of RFS volumes in 2015 that covered 2014, 2015, and 2016, as well as proposed biodiesel standards through 2017. EPA has stated that this new rule will be finalized by November 30, 2016, following the previously determined timeline for setting RFS volumes. EPA's issuance of RFS volumes in a timely is critical for preventing uncertainty in the biofuel industry; previous years saw production and investments in the biofuel industry decrease as a result of uncertain demand stemming from undecided RFS volumes.